Talk about a time warp. Seeing The Breeders play a packed Variety Playhouse in Atlanta was like being transported to 1993. The Last Splash-era lineup of sisters Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson (with violinist/keyboardist Carrie Bradley) reunited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their seminal album. The group took on the eclectic record in its entirety, performing the 15-song LP with a visceral gusto that made the album a certified-platinum hit in the first place.
After a brief opening set by ATL-based rockers Deerhunter (frontman Bradford Cox was celebrating his 31st birthday), Kim, Kelley, Josephine, Jim and Carrie walked on stage and proceeded to wow the audience with an hour-and-a-half of raw, unadulterated alternative rock.
The Breeders began with “New Year,” and breezed through the rest of the album in consecutive order, ending with a lengthy encore of B-sides and tracks from Pod and Safari that did not fail to impress. “OK, it’s gonna get weird now,” Kim remarked before “Invisible Man,” in which they brought out the same wind chimes that were used during their San Francisco show 20 years prior. Afterwards, “Roi” and “Do You Love Me Now?” punched with fury thanks to Kelley’s blunt, guttural guitar riffs and Wigg’s penetrating basslines.
Right before getting into “I Just Wanna Get Along,” Kim declared that Kelley had something she wanted to get off her chest, and she proceeded to breathe new life into the song with emphatic strain and annoyed angst during the chorus. “Thanks Kelley, I hope you feel better,” Kim quipped afterward. “Thanks for letting me share,” Kelley replied.
“S.O.S.” while short, drove the crowd into a hard-rocking, rage-fueled frenzy, with Macpherson providing a fierce drum solo. Bradley put just as much fervor into her violin during “Drivin’ on 9” while Kelley beamed and gave her props from the side. A 7-song encore included a cover of The Beatles’ “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” which appears on 1990’s Pod, and ended with the loud-quiet angst of “Don’t Call Home,” from the 1992 EP Safari.
The Breeders were on a mission to prove that, after 20 years, they have not had their last splash and we can’t wait to see where the next decades take them.